Recent investigations in thyroid carcinogenesis have led to the isolation and characterisation of a subpopulation of stem-like cells, responsible for tumour initiation, progression and metastasis. Nevertheless, the cellular origin of thyroid cancer stem cells (SCs) remains unknown and it is still necessary to define the process and the target population that sustain malignant transformation of tissue-resident SCs or the reprogramming of a more differentiated cell. Here, we will critically discuss new insights into thyroid SCs as a potential source of cancer formation in light of the available information on the oncogenic role of genetic modifications that occur during thyroid cancer development. Understanding the fine mechanisms that regulate tumour transformation may provide new ground for clinical intervention in terms of prevention, diagnosis and therapy.
- thyroid stem cells